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Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Five: Birthday Edition

1. Rainy day=brilliant. I love the rain. A rainy birthday is even better.

2. My husband rocks my face off. He cracks me up because he's had my presents wrapped and waiting for me for the past two weeks, and every day he's tried to get me to open at least one of them. So go figure that this morning he couldn't even wait for me to get out of bed, and I opened my gifts with eyes still half-shut with sleep.

3. Presents!
I'm going to give him the benefit of a doubt on this one and assume he's not
saying I need to work out. I was pretty excited about this though:

I've been wanting one of these apple peeler/corer/slicers so bad ever since I borrowed my mom's to make some apple pies:
Eek! I'd been wanting one of these, too! I'm completely inept at
chopping vegetables. Problem solved! And it's pink:
4. Surprise birthday lunch! I love love love the sophomore English team. They set up a surprise birthday lunch for me today, complete with decorated desk, a sign on the board and a full lunch spread! It was so yummy and a much better alternative to my sandwich and chips. I'm going to miss these girls so much next year! They seriously are the best coworkers I could ever ask for-- and I don't even have a picture to post of all of us! I need to work on that.
5. And there's still more to come. Tonight we're going to my parent's house because my awesome mommy always takes requests for our birthday dinners. My choices for the evening: oven fried chicken, her garlic/brown sugar green beans, homemade mac and cheese, and chocolate chip cake. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. And tomorrow Matt and I are going on a real live date. Chuy's for dinner and When in Rome afterwards because it is still my birthday celebration and I request a chick flick. I win!

So I'm not technically 26 until 9:00 pm, but happy birthday to me anyway!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Is it self-absorbed that I love my new layout so I keep going to my blog just to look at it? I mean, check out that header! Granted, I used a pre-made background on it, but I discovered that photo editing software is way out of my league. It wasn't even Photoshop; instead I tried my hand at the poor man's version, aka I gained a new appreciation for my ridiculously talented sister (who can maneuver Photoshop like nobody's business), and, in turn, got a lesson in humility. I pride myself on my document-formatting and spreadsheet-creating skills, so it was much to my dismay that all those crazy layers and backgrounds and lighting options were beyond my capabilities. This simple header took me like TWO hours to make! And it's barely anything! I really need to figure out how to become more efficient in header-creation. 

Last night I tried another new thing. My talented friend Kendra is directing Thoroughly Modern Millie at the small Christian school where she teaches, so she asked Matt and me to come to her final dress rehearsal to take notes for the kids. I've been in my fair share of musicals and revues, but more than that, I am obsessed with everything musical theater and like to pretend I actually know what I'm talking about. (Matt actually has had more "directing" experience as of late, but he's not such a know-it-all.) So naturally we said we'd do it and made the trek up there to help out (and see the show for free-- score!). As the show began and I was sitting there with my rockin' glow stick (to write notes in the dark, of course-- how cool!), notebook, and paper, I suddenly felt like such a poser. What in the world was I supposed to even watch for?!? Fortunately, being opinionated and critical has its upsides. I filled up four whole pages of comments, questions, and critiques. They weren't even all negative! And it was surprisingly fun. It didn't hurt that the show was fabulous. Just call me Heather Ebert. Two thumbs up! 

Tomorrow's my birthday, and although I don't get quite as excited as this, I'm actually looking forward to it. I haven't had a good birthday in like four years, mostly because I'm always coaching on my birthday, which translates to spending the evening outside in the cold, wind, and rain. But 26 just sounds old to me. I know it's not, but I can't help but to be aware of the fact that I'm officially in my "upper twenties," I'm officially out of the under-25 category, and I'm officially four years away from thirty. Yikes! 

But then maybe I'll be thirty, flirty, and thriving

And still learning new tricks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's List: Go-to Dinners

Feel free to join in the list-making frenzy by clicking on the linky above for instructions. Today's list is Go-To Dinners (i.e. the family favorites you go to in a bind). Let's begin!

Disclaimer: I have no creative recipes to share because if I'm in that much of a bind, it's so easy you don't even need a recipe.

1. Breakfast for dinner: I actually usually plan for this once a week, so I don't know if it really classifies for the category, but it's just so stinkin' easy! Scramble some eggs, bake some bacon (extra extra crispy-- yum!), throw some biscuits in the oven, and bam! Instant breakfast dinner. Oh, and sometimes I make pumpkin pancakes. I'm that good.

2. Smashwiches and soup, chips, or whatever we have left in the kitchen: I don't know if "smashwiches" is really a word, but that's what Matt calls a George-Foreman-grilled sandwich. 

3. Grilled chicken and vegetables: Marinate or season some grilled chicken (massive bag from Costco, anyone?), throw it on the grill, heat up some frozen spinach/corn/broccoli/whatever. Fast, cheap, easy breezy.

4. Sonic/Chicken Express/Taco Bell/Chick-Fil-A: Okay, so these are our "in a super-bind" meals. Unfortunately, we've had to use these go-to options way too much over the past few weeks. Back to the menu planning next week! Phew!

Dessert: Chocolate chocolate chip cake. I can't even tell you how amazing this cake is. It's my all-time favorite, and if I'm feeling extra generous tonight, I'll even add the recipe.

What's your go-to recipe? I could (obviously) use some ideas!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Update

I should be working. But instead I will update you, my lovely readers, stream-of-consciousness style about my weekend.

I'm a little distracted, however, by my nap-avoiding baby. She is precious. She really is, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother. Okay, maybe I am. Anyway, I've blogged about Avery's "snort laugh" that's not really a laugh at all, I just call it her laugh because it's her substitute for the sweet baby laugh.

I shouldn't have complained about the snort though. Her new noise is scary. Like straight-from-a-horror-flick scary. Okay, back up on the horror flick thing; I think a better way to describe it is that it's not unlike the name memorization technique Ana Faris uses in The House Bunny. You know, the one where she growls the person's name in a really low rumbly voice. It's weird. It's even weirder to hear it come from such a tiny little mouth.

Back to the weekend update. Matt's mom and sister came up to visit; we love hanging out with them! We went to see Footloose at the high school on Friday (Matt directed the orchestra in the first act), and Avery loved her first musical! She watched most of the first act so intently (I think she knew her daddy was directing), took a bottle and napped for the rest of the show. She even got to sit next to Ms. Beverly, her nurse from the hospital when she was born!
On Saturday morning I got to sleep in until EIGHT! Ah, it was beautiful. Matt, on the other hand, slept until 11:30. No lie. I'm pretty sure he's done that a grand total of one time since we've been married. Guess the poor guy's pretty worn out.

We got a late lunch at Petaluma (yum, love that place!), made a little Target run, and stopped at Costco for just formula, diapers, and bananas. Yeah "just" is not a word that functions properly at Costco. While we were there we had to get some Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. And some carrots. And chips (2 bags!). And dinner for that night. And dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert, so how about a huge chocolate cake? Yes, please. I'm pretty sure that if we'd stayed any longer we would have also bought a couch. I'm not kidding.

Matt had to direct the Saturday night show too, so the girls spent the evening watching the Bridezillas marathon and eating pizza and cake. Brilliant.

So now it's Sunday, Avery has put out a full-on revolt against the nap, and I think it's time to rescue her.

**Update: No wonder she was fighting it... a clean diaper and a bottle later, she's fast asleep and I'm going to be productive for the next 1.5 ish hours.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five

1. Avery is now a clapping fool! It's the cutest thing. And she's getting hair now and eating all sorts of crazy food. This has been a big month for her so far!

2. Ah, The Office started back up last night. I was a little bummed that it wasn't really a new episode though. As much as I like flashbacks, I think the writers need to pick it up a little; this season is a tad bland. I'll give them credit though for including my very favorite Office scene (when Jim comes to work as Dwight): "Bears...beets...Battlestar Galactica."  Classic!

I also cleaned the house after Avery went to bed and even got to catch up on the last Bachelor episode. Can we say that some of these women are cah-razy?!? Yikes. But like I've said before, it's a train wreck that I seriously can't stop watching. It's a problem really.

3. Footloose opened last night, which means I'm three days closer to having my husband back! Yay! It also means that Avery gets to see her first musical tonight (gotta start 'em young). She's a pro at concerts, so hopefully she'll keep up her track record and not be too distracting to those around us. Fingers crossed!

4. Today is pay day! Having both of us working in the same district requires ridiculous discipline in budgeting, and around Christmas when our pay schedule gets jacked up it becomes even more difficult. But we both have jobs and can pay the bills (even this month's electric bill-whew!), so I'm really not complaining. 

5. I'm a much more joyful person today than I was last Friday, and I'm sure my students, coworkers, and family appreciate that. But today my heart is really heavy because it's not such a good day for some people we really love. You know who you are, and we're praying for you. Love you guys.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A glimpse at the chaos

I have what some might call a "Type A" personality. I admit it: I'm high strung. I'm competitive to a fault. I like things done a certain way. I make lists in excess. I think I can do everything, so I do. (Everything, that is.) I have a hard time relaxing. I'd rather be doing than just being.

Therefore, it is a complete enigma that I allow my house to become such a disaster zone. The living room is littered with baby toys. The couches are the bases for stacks of clean laundry just waiting to be distributed to dressers and closets. The kitchen table has become a second mailbox of sorts. I'm sure there are bills to be paid somewhere under the piles of junk mail and magazines that have been haphazardly tossed onto the nearest solid surface. There is dog hair all over the floors. The laundry hampers are overflowing. There are dirty dishes filling the sink. I can't even remember the last time I washed our sheets.
Yes, I realize that this post is a little too honest. My ulterior motive in airing our dirty laundry (pun intended) is that I'll have some motivation to do something about the chaos that surrounds us at home.

Oh, and we have company coming tomorrow. Better get to work!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Is it bad that I hate it when God teaches me things?

Currently on His apparent agenda:
  • Loving the unlovable
  • Trusting that He is our provider
Yeah, those things are really hard for me.

The end.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Allison!

Today marks my last day to have any teenage siblings. Allison turned the big 2-0, and I believe she deserves a blog dedication for this milestone.

So happy birthday to the best sister I could ask for. Thanks for being the butt of so many jokes, the recipient of so many pranks, and cheap labor when you didn't know any better. You've turned out okay, kid.

For those of you who aren't privileged to know my sister, she is
  • beautiful inside and out,
  • has an incredible eye for photography,
  • is a stud on the soccer field,
  • is a completely genuine goofball,
  • has a heart to serve others,
  • doesn't settle for the status quo,
  • sings and plays piano like nobody's business,
  • tells it like it is,
  • and has a maturity beyond her years.
And as much as I've always told her how annoyed I am that she copies everything I do (even down to the name of her significant other, I mean, come on), I am so honored to say that she's my sister.

Allison, I truly do look up to you (even though I know it's supposed to be the other way around since I am the older, wiser one, lol). And even though I have to love you because we're family, I genuinely like you. That says something.

So enjoy the rest of your birthday and check your mailbox this week.

Happy 20th!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Return of the Friday Five

1. Yesterday was a day of tears. I seriously just bawled about everything. I cried when I read this blog. I cried when I watched the news and saw the stories about the Arlington police officer who was killed on Wednesday and the devastation in Haiti. I cried over our backyard neighbors who are so miserable that they insist on making our lives just as miserable. I cried, and I cried, and I cried. Ugh. I'm not usually such a baby.

2. Today marks the end of the fall semester at our school. I can't decide if I'm relieved to be halfway done with the year, sad that it's my last fall semester to teach (for awhile anyway), or overwhelmed with all the last-minute paperwork I'm required to turn in.  I think I will choose to be emotionally numb today so I don't resort back to yesterday's seemingly automatic response.

3. I hate February and usually dread its arrival (more on that later). However, January's end this year means that I have my husband back in the evenings (school musical is over), my student teacher will start taking over some of my classes, and my birthday will be over and done with (I haven't had a great birthday in awhile.).

4. This will probably make me unpopular, but I'm more than a little skeptical about the $100 million in aid that Obama is sending to Haiti. 

Please don't get me wrong, I strongly believe that we should be helping them out in this time of massive destruction and devastation. I'm so heartbroken when I think about how little these people had to begin with and now they have even less. And that "even less" now means that so many are left without moms, dads, children, friends, and countless loved ones, and it burdens me to help somehow. There are many organizations and charities that are now working with the Haitian people to provide aid, and I believe we, as individuals who are blessed beyond measure, should give (either financially or of our time or both) to help organizations like the Red Cross or Compassion International.

But please someone explain to me what good it is going to do to give $100 million to an already corrupt government who has let the billions of dollars our government has given to them since 1993 go unaccounted for. I just don't get it. 

5. And finally, just in case you didn't click there while reading #1, you need to check out this blog entry by MckMama. I love everything about her blog: her crazy stories, her writing style, her photography, everything. Her topic yesterday though ("I'm Gonna Miss This") is something I think about a lot now that Avery's here, and I think she expressed my sentiments better than I ever could. If you have kids, go. read. it. 

***Edit: After re-reading my five random thoughts, I realized just how negative I sound today! Yikes! In actuality, I'm  just overly hormonal at the moment and will back to "normal" soon. 

Ah, the weekend is almost here. Enjoy it! I know I will.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today was definitely a Monday.

There's nothing like listening to genocide memorial projects all day long to get you in a swell mood. We had a fantastic research project assignment to close out our Night (Holocaust) unit, and there were some pretty amazing finished products turned in today. One student even admitted how unaware he was of these other genocides in the world because all he ever learned about in school was the Holocaust. Ah, it's nice when they understand "the point." Well, awareness isn't the whole point, but I love it when students have the "aha" moment that bursts their small-town bubble, even if it only is for a single moment.

Anyway, my original point was that it was a little bit of a downer (to say the least) to listen to stories about rape and massacres all day long. My relief tonight came in the form of baby laughter and even my own laughter at The Bachelor.

Matt had rehearsal until 8, so I was a good wife (hehe) and took him Sonic and a sweet baby girl while he wasn't directing. Yes, I was supposed to make spaghetti for dinner; no, I did not want to cook at all today (even spaghetti, aka the easiest thing in the world to make); yes, we had Sonic gift cards (thanks Uncle Vernon and Aunt Tina!). Needless to say, the decision was relatively easy to make.

I even got some precious Avery time when I got home. She even LAUGHED for me! Okay, I know babies are supposed to laugh all the time, so I shouldn't think this is a big deal. But if you've spent any time with Avery over the past couple of months, you'll know that she doesn't laugh anymore. Don't get me wrong; she's a very happy baby, but whenever she's excited about something and wants to laugh, she snorts. Like a pig. Sure it's cute and all, but sometimes it's just really fun to hear a sweet baby laugh.

And okay, okay, I caved. I swore off The Bachelor after Jason's fiasco of a season. But that (stupid) show is my guilty TV pleasure. I can't help it! Pardon the tired cliche, but watching these desperate drama queens fight over one (admittedly pretty cute) guy is like watching a train wreck. And tonight was drama-filled. Sigh. (I pick Alli, btw.)

Fortunately, my life is not fraught with such theatrics, and I think I will return to living it away from the computer screen.

p.s. I'm so beyond ready for the weather to warm up again. My puppies are total weenies when it comes to the cold, and they're driving me nuts inside the house.

p.p.s. I can't wait for Dear John to come out in theaters. If you haven't read it (yes, I know it's just a cheesy Nicholas Sparks novel, but don't be a literature snob; it is SO GOOD), go read it before the movie comes out. Seriously.